Winding down Carter Comics Convention tour 2016

Hello everyone! For those of you who followed this once weekly blog, you may wonder why that schedule has changed since I last wrote here back in May.  Well simply put, I've been busy. A lot of my time has been divided between my full-time day job, two freelance art jobs, Mongoose Monday illustration games, my own comic projects, and of course, exhibiting at Comic Conventions.

From Long Beach Comic Expo in February, to Long Beach Comic Con last weekend, and all the smaller shows in between, 2016 has been a very "con-heavy" year thus far. However, despite the sheer number of shows I've appeared at this year, the attendance and sales have been lower. Salesand attendance wise, my best shows were Reseda Artwalk and Night Market back in June, Glendale Open Arts and Music Festival, Highland Park Comic Con, and Long Beach Comic Con. My just-okay or worst shows this year were Baldwin Park Comic Expo, LA Derby Dolls Comic Con, Buy Indie Comics Day, San Fernando Valley Comic Con, Long Beach Comic Expo, and Comic Invasion, where for the first time in my six years of exhibiting, I never made a single sale. There are a number of different reasons as to why my worst shows were so bad: Low attendee turnout, unenthusiastic crowds, not enough promotion, cons scheduling too many side activities (like panels) that keep attendees out of the main exhibit floor, and sometimes just bad timing. I'm also honest enough to admit that perhaps my skills as a salesperson were poor during these bad shows. On the other hand, there are a number of different reasons for my best shows: High attendee turnout, enthusiastic crowds, no competing events on the same days, and most importantly: Good communication between show promoters and residents of the town they're throwing the event in, in terms of what they want out of a comic convention. This of course, ensures that potential convention attendees will be treated to things that they like and want at the shows, instead of being told what to like and want.

There is another side to doing too many conventions, regardless of their quality: Not enough time to finish new material. Although I'm still building my fanbase and can currently get away with not releasing a new issue of my larger projects like Cosmic Force and Damn Tourists (this is where the quickly-produced Mongoose Monday books come in handy), there are a lot of the same convention attendees that go to many different shows throughout a year, and even if they don't stop by your table to view your work, they still see you. Should those same attendees pass by my table and not see anything new, that doesn't say a lot of good things about how quickly I can produce a new comic. I recently ran into a fan who only likes and buys my Cosmic Force series at Long Beach Comic Con. He's purchased all five issues and has been waiting for issue number 6 for almost two years. While I understand his persistent asking, and I'm happy that he does still ask (which makes him very loyal of course), between everything else on my plate, I haven't been able to fulfill that request unfortunately.  As fun as doing cons can be, they can be addictive to an exhibitor: Too many can take a toll on you physically, and the sheer number of new conventions popping up nowadays can be extremely enticing. Case in point: Due to me being way behind schedule on both Damn Tourists issue 4 and Cosmic Force issue 6 (both were supposed to be finished in time for Long Beach Comic Con last week), I decided to end my convention tour for the year after Comikaze Expo in late October. Then I get news on cheap tables at Palm Springs Comic Con in November.  As much as I try to say 'enough for now,'  that convention enchantress keeps pulling me back in.

So will I do that show? Who knows. I don't even know yet. But what I do know is that I won't be doing any other 'out of the blue' show between my next three cons: Santa Clarita Valley Comic Con next weekend, Mystic Dragon Indie Book Festival in City of Industry on October 22nd, and Comikaze Expo the weekend before Halloween (Friday October 28th to Sunday October 30th).

Of course, that could all change, if that "con enchantress" has anything to say about it.